IOWA CITY — It wasn’t quite what you’d call a signature moment for Jordan Lynch.
It’s debatable how much Saturday’s 30-27 victory over Iowa really helped the Northern Illinois quarterback in his quest to become the first player since 1990 from a non-BCS conference to win the Heisman Trophy.
But it certainly didn’t hurt.
Lynch was held to his second-lowest single-game rushing total since he became the Huskies’ starting QB (56 yards), but he had the third highest passing total of his career (275 yards) and engineered a victory on the road against a Big Ten opponent.
The 331 yards of offense isn’t much short of his 2012 season average of 354, and Lynch did hit Da’Ron Brown with a perfectly thrown 33-yard touchdown strike to tie the game with 5:05 remaining. When the Huskies pulled out the victory in the final minutes, Lynch was more of a facilitator than a hero.
Still, a victory over a Big Ten team will look pretty good on his Heisman resumè.
And while the game may not have done a great deal to help Lynch win the big trophy, it may have edged him closer to having a future as an NFL quarterback.
Until now, many of assumed that when Lynch got to the professional level, he was likely to be cast as a running back or a safety. Those 1,815 rushing yards he compiled last season were much more striking than his 3,138 passing yards.
He seemed to be a bulkier Eric Crouch or perhaps a shorter Tim Tebow. A superb athlete and a winner, but probably not adept enough as a pure passer to play QB at a higher level.
On Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, he turned some heads.
Of the 41 passes Lynch attempted against Iowa, 25 were completed and you didn’t need more than one hand’s worth of fingers to count the number of passes that weren’t catchable. With better receivers, he might have had 30 or more completions.
He clearly is much improved over a year ago when he opened the season by throwing for just 54 yards against the Hawkeyes at Soldier Field.
That’s not just one observer’s opinion.
“I thought he was a lot better this year,’’ Iowa linebacker James Morris said. “We saw that on film that he improved a lot as the year went on last year.
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“He’s a great player,’’ Morris added. “He does things the right way. He’s certainly somebody you would want on your team.’’
You get the feeling some NFL club will feel that way next fall.
As for the Heisman? Lynch is still a longshot.
To even have a chance, he probably needs about 5,000 yards of total offense and an undefeated regular season.
He didn’t miss doing that by much last fall. He amassed 4,953 yards and lost just one game in the regular season, by a single point to Iowa. The only other blemish on the Huskies’ record was a loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
That was enough to land Lynch in seventh place in the Heisman balloting after starting the season completely off the radar for the award.
People know who he is now. If he just duplicates what he did a year ago, he has a chance.